Sunday, 6 November 2016
John Prescott writes:
Back in 1979 proclaimed on the steps of No 10: “Where there is discord, may we bring harmony.”
In July 2016 an unelected stood on the same spot and promised to fight “burning injustice”, adding, “we will think not of the powerful, but you”.
Margaret Thatcher took 11 years to show her hypocrisy.
Theresa May did it in 11 weeks.
“Burning injustice?” Last Monday she and her successor as Home Secretary Amber Rudd chose to throw petrol on the blazing bonfire of by into the shameful actions of against striking miners.
Last year the Independent Police Complaints Commission said there was “evidence of excessive violence by police officers, a false narrative from police exaggerating violence by miners, perjury by officers giving evidence to prosecute the arrested men, and an apparent cover-up of that perjury by senior officers”.
When the Orgreave Truth and Justice Campaigners met with May and Rudd, they were led to believe the inquiry would take place.
But on Halloween, May chose to play a cruel trick and denied the Orgreave campaigners.
Rudd said it would not be in the public interest to hold an inquiry as it took place three decades ago.
But this May, the Prime Minister’s influential special adviser Nick Timothy wrote:
“Some people will argue that as we are talking about events that took place more than 30 years ago, we should let sleeping dogs lie. But the Hillsborough Independent Panel Inquiry showed that Sleeping Dogs in South Yorkshire Police lied, lied and lied again.”
The next day, May sounded the death knell for more truth and justice.
This came just weeks after May had a private consultation with The Sun owner in New York.
This reminded me of Thatcher’s secret meeting at Chequers with Murdoch.
After that, he was cleared to buy .
Yet again, it appears that a weak Prime Minister seeks the support of powerful press barons to stay in No 10 at the expense of those crushed by the Establishment.
This week Parliament passed the Investigatory Powers Bill, which is designed to give greater powers and resources and new technology to the police to hack every one of our phones for information and whereabouts.
Already seven police authorities have spent hundreds of thousands of pounds to implement the new technology while refusing to co-operate or provide greater accountability.
One of those forces is South Yorkshire Police.
This is a force that conspired to rig evidence in cases against nearly 100 miners, ignored victims’ complaints of child sex abuse in Rotherham and was responsible for the tragedy at which killed 96 people.
It’s only by having an inquiry that the force can learn from its mistakes and the public can start to rebuild trust in the police.
I am pleased that has committed Labour in government to carry out the Orgreave inquiry.
We only discovered the full extent of the injustice after the Hillsborough Independent Panel revealed the links between it and Orgreave, with many South Yorkshire police playing pivotal roles at both events.
It reminds me of the loss of the Thames pleasure boat the Marchioness in 1989, in which 51 people died, and the Thatcher Government’s refusal to hold a public inquiry.
I promised if Labour returned to power we would conduct one and when I became Transport Secretary, that’s what I did.
It discovered the Department of Transport was guilty of contributing to the loss of the Marchioness.
I apologised to the relatives, and to Parliament, for this failure.
I believe May’s actions show she’s going to push for an election next year to strengthen her grip.
But in her desperation to cosy up to the powerful and remain in power, May has chosen to let the sleeping dogs lie.